Hinterland communities have to the end of 2016 to access money from the Jubilee Fund for community projects. Of 212 communities identified, 38 have received funds and have started their projects. The communities can get between $1.2 to $2 million in grant aid.
Some of the projects that can be undertaken include, the expansion of village farms, aquaculture, cattle and poultry rearing, eco-lodges, construction of guest houses, village offices, shops and markets, land mark benabs, recreational parks, internet service, and purchasing vehicles for agricultural and other purposes.
“Historically what we had was what was called a presidential grant, which was the arbitrary distribution or allocation of resources to villages for the satisfaction of projects that were determined by the Ministry,” Presidential Advisor on Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Mervin Williams, told the Government Information Agency..
Under the Presidential Grant, the community was only receiving $700,000 to embark on community projects. However, since Guyana is celebrating its golden jubilee of independence, the Government has decided make more funds available, so that hinterland communities can undertake a viable project.
Williams explained that for the Jubilee Fund, communities would have presented proposals based on what the village councils and the residents determined to be important to their village economies and community enhancement. The proposals were approved and funding disbursed.
He pointed out that the Ministry also provides support to ensure projects are viable. If there is a capacity difficulty in the community, the community leaders can seek assistance from the Ministry, Williams explained.
This initiative was designed to create economic independence within Indigenous communities, and to move away from the culture of receiving handouts.
These hinterland communities are also benefiting from training in the areas of management, transparency and accountability to ensure that these projects are properly managed and executed.